Snake catcher Shaun Armstrong bagging one of 11 baby red belly black snakes.

When Spring arrives, it is associated with a new beginning, a new start to the cycle of nature. Flowers begin to blossom and animals start reproducing, hence baby red belly black snakes are born.

In Australia there are around 90 species of elapid, including 37 which are found in New South Wales. Shoalhaven region accounts for around 10 species of elapid. Possibly 11 if you include the Highlands Copperhead which are more commonly found in the Southern Highlands.

The most commonly encountered elapid in the Shoalhaven is the Red Belly Black Snake. Usually found around water features and dams on properties. This is due to the abundance of their favorite prey item, frogs.

The call for Baby Red Belly Black Snakes

Shoalhaven Snake Catchers received a call from a couple at Nowra Hill. They had found a litter of baby red belly black snakes residing in their mulch pile. Once born, these animals are independent. Although occasionally staying in a group until they have shed their skin for the first time. This usually takes around 7 to 10 days. Upon completion, they make their way off into the bush, completely independent looking for their first meal.

Arriving in Nowra Hill, I was greeted by the residents and ushered to the where the snakes were found. We talked briefly about why there were so many in one place. After which, we went through First Aid treatment for snake bite. (You can find more on snake bite First Aid on our home page.)

The process

While walking over to the mulch pile, a few buckets on the ground near by were noticed. It seemed likely that they would make a good hiding spot for a few snakes. As I picked up the first bucket the anticipation grew. But atlas! None were found to be under it. Moving onto the second bucket thinking maybe the disruption when the resident first discovered them had prompted them to move on and had less confidence they were to be discovered.

As the bucket was raised, a slight shimmer in sun hit my eyes as the first baby red belly black snake was found! Once the bucket was removed away from the mulch pile, 6 babies were found all curled up hiding.

Checking out the group of Red Belly Black Snakes
Group of 11 baby Red Belly Black Snakes found in Nowra Hill

The Capture

After taking a few pictures, I prompted each of the 6 to move into the hoop bag. The bag was secured while I searched for any remaining babies hiding in and around the mulch pile. Red Belly Black snakes have on average 12 babies in a litter, which meant finding more was most likely.

A Rake was used to gently search through the remaining mulch while I conversed with the residents about all things reptiles. Many hours could be spent talking as it is a topic that I am passionate about and the reason snake relocation appealed to me so much.

We talked as I was searching and occasionally stopping to persuade another baby red belly black snake into the hoop bag. For a good 30 minutes I searched through the mulch. Finally happy that there were no more animals there, a total of 11 baby snakes were captured. The residents were relieved to know that all the animals had been captured and to be released away from residential properties.

Tiny Baby Red Belly Black Snake
Checking on one of the Baby Red Belly Black Snakes

Time for release

Now it was time to find a release site that provided baby red belly black snakes food, water and hiding spots. The selected site also couldn’t be too far from the capture location but also far enough away from residential areas. Finding a spot like this can be difficult and after looking closely at some maps it was time to see if they were suitable. At most sites there was either not enough water or food sources. I was starting to lose hope, however, the perfect spot was found.

The selected release site had plenty of water, in turn provided prey items such as frogs and smaller skinks. With multitudes of hiding spots and received plenty of sun in various spots for them to bask. With a few cameras set up, it was time to let these little danger noodles take on the world.

If a snake finds a way into your yard, bring all pets and children inside. Call a professional snake catcher (our number is 0481 811 855) and keep an eye on the animal. Then you can direct the catcher to where the animal is or where it was last seen. By doing this, it will allow the catcher the best opportunity to catch and relocate the animal.

Shaun Armstrong

Shaun Armstrong

Snake Catcher

Our professional snake catcher Shaun, has had a keen interest in anything reptile related from a young age. As a result, he has a strong passion for all things reptile. This passion eventually led him into this profession.